Tuesday, 15 October 2013


Janet and Allan Ahlberg wrote many grand children's books together. British readers would remember the likes of The Jolly Postman, Bill Burglar, It was a Dark and Stormy Night and the Happy Families series in their local schools or libraries once upon a time.

Funnybones was another series of books they wrote that I took to most. Maybe it was because the premise of a skeleton "family" was so creative and fun. Or maybe it was the illustrations by Andre Amstutz, where the skeletons, set against the "Dark, Dark Town", truly stood out. Whatever it was, I never got tired pouring through the books I had of youth and admiring each page from cover to cover.

I especially adored the animated series that followed, which saw the adventures of Big, Little and Dog adapted by Jocelyn Stevenson, who was also responsible for the terrific Charlie Chalk as well as a host of Muppets / Sesame Street children's books. Next to a very catchy soundtrack plus theme tune, the animation was expertly crafted, with a jolly Griff Rhys Jones handling the position of Storyteller and voices.

So huge credit to Cartwn Cymru for giving us a faultless little series. Only 12 episodes in all, but this one series alone makes it all the more special. And Cartwn Cymru would continue to entertain and impress with their follow-up show, the Toucan 'Tecs - proving as with Mike Young had with SuperTed, the Welsh can produce more than just beautiful singing voices!

As this series was aimed for the pre-school market, it's more comical than scary - however, if you want "creepy", then check out this strange adaptation of one of the Funnybones books from a Hong Kong production...!


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